Murky Depths

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Transport

Network Rail work on £55m upgrade to Woolwich and Bexleyheath Southeastern lines

Junction near lewisham station

Network Rail have been working over the past weekend on a £55 million signalling upgrade which saw the closure of the Eltham and Woolwich lines.



The project involved replacing technology from the 1970s and moving signalling control covering part of each line from London Bridge to Three Bridges in Sussex. It includes “80 new signals, 10 new points and over 100 new train detectors (called axle counters).”

Courtesy @NetworkRail

Part of the scheme saw work around the old Eltham Park station which closed in 1985 which I covered yesterday.

Courtesy @NetworkRail. Staff work around old platform

This project was also the reason given for permanently closing the foot crossing in Charlton and Greenwich. After protests and petitions it has now been postponed.

More capacity

The aim of this project is to improve reliability and reduce signal faults which have been particularly prevalent in the Lewisham area. It does not enhance capacity and permit more trains to run. That would require other work around terminals in central London.

It would involve installing automatic train operation (ATO) around London Cannon Street, Charing Cross and London Bridge (at the very least) to achieve higher frequencies. TfL have proposed such a system if they took over Southeastern, though it would need to be funded by Network Rail.

London Bridge. Thameslink has ATO – Southeastern does not

The technology is used on the tube and has been installed on the central core of Thameslink.



In place of that which shows no sign of happening soon, Southeastern Metro could finally become a full 12-car running across the board with new stock but continual delays to the franchise process have hampered any long term investment for years.

As for this upgrade, I wouldn’t expect everything to go swimmingly with this new upgrade as teething problems are likely, though in the mid to long term it should see an improvement.

I’m running an Easter appeal to help with the site. Info here. Many thanks to those who have helped.

 

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